Pressure cookers are some of the best appliances in the kitchen! What do you use yours for? They come in handy for preparing all sorts of dishes—from stews to desserts. But is it really worth the investment? Yes!
For one thing, the greatest and most appealing feature about a pressure cooker is its power. Even with many gadgets coming onto the market each year, you’ll rarely find a better ‘workhorse’ for the modern home cook.
There’s still nothing as effective as a pressure cooker for preparing food items that take a long time to cook. We’re talking about grains, stocks, rice, and of course, dried beans.
As with any food preparation, using the correct method makes a difference. So, read on to discover a few easy but effective steps and tips on how to cook dry beans in a pressure cooker.
Beans—Why it Should Feature on Your Family’s Menu Plan
- Affordable AND Nutritious
Beans are the archetypal inexpensive food item that also comes with a high level of nutrition. You can purchase a large amount of beans for only a few dollars.
Even if you spend a little more and purchase premium high-quality beans, you will still end up saving money, compared to buying various other staples.
- Long Shelf Life
Another benefit is their good shelf life. However, please note that you shouldn’t leave it to sit for too long. When buying your beans, be sure to buy from a reputable store that sees a high turnover of food items to avoid cooking with old beans.
- Fast Preparation
With your trusty pressure cooker, it is entirely possible to prepare a scrumptious bowl of hot beans in under an hour—starting off with dried beans you bought at the store. Obviously, the cooking times will vary based on:
- Type of beans
- Quality of dried beans you use
- How long you’ve had the beans in storage in your pantry
- The type of pressure cooker you’re using
Still, in most cases, the following tips will apply. And it will only take a batch or two to perfect it to suit your personal preferences.
Why Use a Pressure Cooker to Cook Beans?
You may wonder why so many people choose the pressure cooker method for cooking beans. The following advantages are welcome in most busy households:
- Using a pressure cooker saves families time, because it takes less time for a dish to cook. Also, because you can simply add the ingredients and leave it to do the work, you’ll have more time for other chores.
- A pressure cooker brings some safety into the kitchen. For one thing, because the contents are covered during the cooking process there’s less chance of a curious child sticking their fingers into a hot mixture and burning themselves.
- For beans specifically, a pressure cooker results in great texture of the final dish.
Cooking Dry Beans in a Pressure Cooker
How Much Beans Should You Use?
To prepare an entire pound of beans, you will need at least a large sized pressure cooker. That means it must have a 6- to 8-quart capacity.
Remember you can only fill a pressure cooker to a certain level. Adding too much could affect the efficiency of the process. Therefore, when you use a smaller pressure cooker, reduce the amount of beans you’re working with accordingly.
Should You Pre-Soak Your Beans Before Cooking?
One of the main reasons people soak beans before cooking them is to reduce the cooking time needed to get them to a soft, palatable texture. Pre-soaking also affects to what extent the beans stay whole while you cook them.
Furthermore, soaking helps to eliminate the gas-causing sugars. So, no matter what method you use, if you want to prevent too much flatulence, pre-soaking is a good idea.
- Pre-Soaking with Traditional Cooking on Stove Top
When cooking beans on a stovetop, it is recommended that you pre-soak them before starting the process. The soaking period varies based on the type of bean being used.
- Pre-soaking with Pressure Cooking
The great news is that, if you’re concerned about cooking time, pre-soaking is not actually required when preparing beans using a pressure cooker. However, it’s all about how particular you are about the texture of the final product.
If you want to make sure the beans stay intact during cooking, pre-soaking is an efficient strategy to follow. Unsoaked beans tend to split up when cooked in a pressure cooker.
How to Cook Dry Beans in a Pressure Cooker
When you’re still learning how to cook dry beans in a pressure cooker, do refer to recipes and the pressure-cooking time chart of your device. In general, the steps will be more or less the following:
- Pre-soak the beans if you decide to (see tips above).
- If you followed Step 1, drain and rinse the beans in cold running water.
- Fill the pressure cooker with the beans.
- Cover the beans with broth, leaving at least 2 inches free at the top—this is to allow space for the beans’ expansion.
- Add your other ingredients according to taste—this could be:
- Flavorings and seasonings such as herbs, spices, and peppers
- Add a tablespoon or two of lard, butter, fat, or vegetable oil. Avoid using margarine as it doesn’t contain fat.
- Seal your pressure cooker.
- Bring the cooker up to 15psi pressure.
- Maintain heat and pressure as indicated by your recipe or cooking chart.
- After the planned cooking time, use the natural release method before opening the lid.
- Test whether your beans are done.
Bonus tip: The easiest way to determine if beans are properly cooked is to simply press one between your fingers—it should be easy to mash.
Can You Store and Freeze Cooked Beans?
Yet another benefit of cooked beans is that you can store it for longer periods than some other dishes. For starters, if you have some leftover beans that you want to use later in the week, simply place it in the fridge.
If you store it in a sealed container in its original cooking liquid, it should still be safe to eat up to five days later.
Tip: you can store them without the cooking liquid (if you already tossed it out) if you add some oil, pepper, and salt before placing it in the fridge.
If you want to keep beans for longer than a few days, you’ll need to freeze them. When you do it correctly, you can keep them frozen for up to six months and still have a tasty meal after thawing and heating it. To freeze beans, do the following:
- Let the beans cool down
- Drain all liquid
- Place in a container or bag that’s freezer safe
- Place in freezer
The Bottom Line
If you’re wondering if the key to easy cooking is to discover how to cook dry beans in a pressure cooker, you’re right! Tasty meals with beans as a staple are waiting for you! And there’s a lot more you can do with your pressure cooker. So, it’s time to start experimenting!